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Re: more than one shot in a musket

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  • carlw4514
    Having hunted with muzzleloaders, I think I have gotten a little insight into this: -basecat and wakefield are right, it is certainly easy to create a
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 11, 2004
      Having hunted with muzzleloaders, I think I have gotten a little
      insight into this:
      -basecat and wakefield are right, it is certainly easy to create a
      dangerous situation, but it is somewhat less likely than it might
      seem, because if you, for example, put a load of powder and then a
      ball and then on top of that put another load of each, your ramrod
      sticks so far up out of the barrel you should know you have goofed.
      This of course assumes you have some training and are not out of your
      mind with fear. [Training would have you not assume you just can't get
      the ramrod down due to fouling but it is ok to fire... one does not
      fire the musket in this condition as this also creates damage, the
      powder and ball must be tight to the breech end]

      Of course, most of us know that muskets have been found on ACW
      battlefields with multiple loads. Here is how I think this happens:
      1] the musket is loaded with a ball but the powder has been forgotten.
      this is GUARANTEED to happen to you some time or another even if you
      are just doing target practice far from any excitement. There are a
      couple of techniques for correcting this.
      2] in battle the musket is capped and the soldier hears a load bang,
      or the bangs of guns around him, and in the excitement of battle does
      not realize he didn't feel the recoil.
      3] the soldier reloads powder and ball on top of his powderless round
      which is still in the barrel. He caps his musket and fires, hearing
      another bang, but the misplaced ball on the bottom prevents ignition.
      4] he assumes he has fired; he loads again on top of all this; at this
      point he should notice the ramrod is not going in far enough. All of
      this IMO could happen to a veteran up to this point, but only a green
      soldier would then load yet another round on top of his misloaded
      musket; yet certainly even these have been found on battlefields, I
      have seen the term "multiple" to describe them... at some point the
      error is realized and the musket thrown away, I guess.
      -hope this gives some insight,
      Carl

      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "aot1952" <aot1952@y...> wrote:
      > Paul-
      > If the person only 'double' loaded it (that is with two shots) it
      > will recoil (kick) like a mule usually but not blow up in face . As
      > basecat indicates if greater load than two the shooter is running
      > an increasing risk of the musket simply exploding in his face and
      > likely injuring him and two or three of his pards in close order
      > formation with him. Some people call this a 'blow back'. Even a
      > double load with minnie balls runs a real risk of this. It
      > is 'Physics' as I understand it, the increased minnies expand and
      > require more thrust to expell from weapon than the barrell could
      > contain without spliting the metal or blowing out the nipple.
      > Of course what apparently often happened was that in the excitment
      > of battle, soldiers forgot to place the cap on the musket and thus
      > would load and not fire numerous times.
      > I do not believe anyone was ever initially taught or permited
      > to 'double load' with minnies in an attempt to somehow increase
      > their fire power. A little different situation with smoothbore 'buck
      > and ball' weapons instead of minnies in rifled musket since by
      > design buck and balls did not 'expand' in the barrell.
      > Heth, in his Musket Manual covers this situation pretty intensely ,
      > I believe.
      > I could be wrong-
      > Regards-
      > Wakefield---
      >
      >
      > In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Liu" <stupid1961@h...> wrote:
      > >
    • Daniel Giallombardo
      Paul, I am nowhere near my books, so I cannot provide specifics, but it seems to me, the results varied. Some would fire normally, and others would jam. On
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 12, 2004

                                                   Paul,

                    I am nowhere near my books, so I cannot provide specifics, but it seems to me, the results varied. Some would fire normally, and others would jam. On several occasions, following intense fighting, it was found that during the frenzy of combat, the individual soldiers would load, forget to fire, and reload. On some occasions this caused burst barrels, on others it caused – I would imagine – a heck of a recoil. Hope this helps – and again, I am away from my books, and this is just my memory talking.-----Dan

         


        From: Paul Liu [mailto:stupid1961@...]
        Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 02:07 AM
        To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [civilwarwest] more than one shot in a musket

         

        What will happen if a soldier loads more than one shot in their musket and fires?



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      • jblake47
        ... specifics, but ... others ... found ... load, forget ... No one who was as well trained as these men in the routine of load and fire would forget to
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 13, 2004
          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Daniel Giallombardo"
          <ParrotheadDan@l...> wrote:
          > Paul,
          >
          > I am nowhere near my books, so I cannot provide
          specifics, but
          > it seems to me, the results varied. Some would fire normally, and
          others
          > would jam. On several occasions, following intense fighting, it was
          found
          > that during the frenzy of combat, the individual soldiers would
          load, forget
          > to fire, and reload.

          No one who was as well trained as these men in the routine of load
          and fire would "forget" to fire. This knowledge is what kept them
          alive on the battlefield. They were very well-versed in the
          operation of the musket. With that being said, the roar of battle
          often times would cover up the noise of one's own gun. If there was
          a mis-fire the soldier probably didn't know it. With the use of the
          minie ball, the kick was not always noticeable in a cleaner weapon
          when the pressure of the discharge was able to get around the ball.
          Double loading was quite probable in this mis-fire situation.

          More often than not I would assume the multiple load of a musket came
          from the fact that blackpowder is very fouling in the piece. Once it
          became difficult, if not impossible to ram the cartridge down the
          barrel, the soldier had only a couple of options. 1) poor water down
          the barrel of the gun and ram the soften carbon out of the weapon, 2)
          if you have one, ram down a zinc-ring cartridge to scrape the barrel
          a little cleaner, or 3) drop the musket and pick up another with the
          hopes it is cleaner than the one you had. If this is done, it is
          wise to check the barrel to see if there is any obstructions in it
          first. In the heat of battle, it would take about 10-15 seconds to
          do this. If there wasn't enough time, put a cartridge down and if it
          wouldn't go down all the way, grab another. Keep doing this until
          you have a gun that can fire. Just because a gun was double loaded,
          doesn't mean the soldier didn't do something right or that he even
          tried to fire it in this condition. Remember, once a cartridge went
          down the barrel, it was impossible under fire to clear it back out.
          Just get another gun and move on.

          Jeff
        • Art Bagley
          Greetings All... Wasn t there a technique called pulling a round, where a soldier could actually unload [unjam] his rifle by using a screw-tipped ramrod or
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 3 12:43 PM
            Greetings All...

            Wasn't there a technique called "pulling a round," where a soldier
            could actually unload [unjam] his rifle by using a screw-tipped
            ramrod or some such tool -- a "worm"? -- thereby clearing a minie
            ball-clogged barrel? Maybe I'm thinking on the larger scale of
            artillery, but I believe good ol' yankee [and rebel] ingenuity could
            solve the multi-load problem.

            Art B.
          • hank9174
            After a battle the collected small arms were refurbished and reused. In camp, a soldier was expected to draw a charge on a jammed or otherwise loaded weapon.
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 3 2:36 PM
              After a battle the collected small arms were refurbished and reused.

              In camp, a soldier was expected to draw a charge on a jammed or
              otherwise loaded weapon.

              On the battlefield it was much easier to discard the weapon and find
              one in proper condition...


              HankC

              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Art Bagley" <abagley@u...>
              wrote:
              > Greetings All...
              >
              > Wasn't there a technique called "pulling a round," where a soldier
              > could actually unload [unjam] his rifle by using a screw-tipped
              > ramrod or some such tool -- a "worm"? -- thereby clearing a minie
              > ball-clogged barrel? Maybe I'm thinking on the larger scale of
              > artillery, but I believe good ol' yankee [and rebel] ingenuity
              could
              > solve the multi-load problem.
              >
              > Art B.
            • carlw4514
              Precisely, by no means was a mistakenly overloaded musket unmanageable given some time... but in combat, there couldn t possibly be time to go through the
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 5 6:44 PM
                Precisely, by no means was a mistakenly overloaded musket unmanageable
                given some time... but in combat, there couldn't possibly be time to
                go through the procecure

                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:

                >
                > On the battlefield it was much easier to discard the weapon and find
                > one in proper condition...
                >
                >
                > HankC
                >
              • jblake47
                ... unmanageable ... It could be the fact that many of the weapons became overloaded by use of two different soldiers on the field. If one s gun became
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 6 10:16 AM
                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...>
                  wrote:
                  > Precisely, by no means was a mistakenly overloaded musket
                  unmanageable
                  > given some time... but in combat, there couldn't possibly be time to
                  > go through the procecure
                  >

                  It could be the fact that many of the weapons became overloaded by
                  use of two different soldiers on the field. If one's gun became
                  clogged due to blackpowder residue, drop it and pick another one up.
                  At that point, one does not know if the gun is loaded or not. One
                  could pull the rammer and test it, or they could load another round
                  and if it didn't go all the way in, drop it and find another. Now
                  you have a discarded weapon with two rounds it in and it was no
                  mistake on anyone's part.

                  I would think it would not behoove anyone to run around trying to
                  find an empty gun with a rammer. Just pick it up, load it and if it
                  loads great, if not, try another. There were plenty to be had.

                  Jeff



                  > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > > On the battlefield it was much easier to discard the weapon and
                  find
                  > > one in proper condition...
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > HankC
                  > >
                • carlw4514
                  ... Having a muzzleloader myself, I would say that there would be several ways in which a gun could get overloaded: -the above could happen, as the second
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 7 4:43 AM
                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "jblake47" <jblake47@y...> wrote:

                    > It could be the fact that many of the weapons became overloaded by
                    > use of two different soldiers on the field.

                    Having a muzzleloader myself, I would say that there would be several
                    ways in which a gun could get overloaded:
                    -the above could happen, as the second soldier would be not quite as
                    familiar with the weapon's idiosyncracies... one's own musket would be
                    harder to misload this way, as for example it is common to make a mark
                    on the ramrod to show how far it should go down the barrel when all is
                    proper. Different ramrods could even be different lengths.
                    -placing a ball before the powder [easy to do if having run out of
                    prepared rounds and having to locate separate powder and ball] and
                    then loading another round mistakingly assuming the gun actually
                    fired, what with all the noise. Examining the ramrod's extension would
                    still detect the error, but not so easily.
                    -the endangerment scenario: failing to put a cap or not realizing it
                    was a faulty cap, overloading, putting a proper cap on and rupturing
                    the barrell when firing, with injury certain and death possible.
                    Again, that noise of battle bit could mask the initial mistake. A real
                    Vet might perhaps always try to be certain he felt the recoil.
                    -the below, if the ignition of the cap fails to reach the powder due
                    to fouling, in the excitement of battle one might make this
                    overloading mistake on an otherwise properly loaded weapon, even on a
                    familiar one.... no veteran would put "multiple loads" though, IMO,
                    which has a comical aspect when one tries to envision a green trooper
                    going through this, assuming he is firing all along. Finally, the
                    ramrod sticks so far out even a dolt knows he has to find another weapon!!

                    > If one's gun became
                    > clogged due to blackpowder residue, drop it and pick another one up.
                    > At that point, one does not know if the gun is loaded or not. One
                    > could pull the rammer and test it, or they could load another round
                    > and if it didn't go all the way in, drop it and find another. Now
                    > you have a discarded weapon with two rounds it in and it was no
                    > mistake on anyone's part.
                    >
                    > I would think it would not behoove anyone to run around trying to
                    > find an empty gun with a rammer. Just pick it up, load it and if it
                    > loads great, if not, try another. There were plenty to be had.


                    Interesting that we find this a fascinating topic.


                    > Jeff

                    Carl
                  • GnrlJEJohnston@aol.com
                    In a message dated 8/7/2004 7:44:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, carlw4514@yahoo.com writes: I would think it would not behoove anyone to run around trying to ...
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 7 9:58 AM
                      In a message dated 8/7/2004 7:44:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, carlw4514@... writes:
                      I would think it would not behoove anyone to run around trying to
                      > find an empty gun with a rammer.  Just pick it up, load it and if it
                      > loads great, if not, try another.  There were plenty to be had.


                      Interesting that we find this a fascinating topic.


                      > Jeff

                      Carl
                      If you have any questions on CW weaponry, you might contact JGBilby44@... .  He is one of the foremost experts in the country on this topic and his books should be part of everyone's collection.
                       
                      JEJ
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